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Surprise Shovelnose


Wed Apr 30 00:00:00 MDT 2008

This past fall FWP biologists sampling fish on the Tiber Reservoir found a very uncommon fish for that water in the gill net—a shovelnose sturgeon.

Because there has never been any evidence of the shovelnose reproducing in the Marias River above Tiber, and only about a dozen adult sturgeon have been found in Tiber since netting began in 1973, this fish is likely a relic of the Marias River before it was impounded 51 years ago.

Sturgeon are very long-lived fish and mature slowly. Lake sturgeon can live up to 150 years, reach eight feet in length and weigh up to 300 pounds. Pallid sturgeon can live more than 40 years, reach five to six feet in length and weigh up to 65 pounds. Shovelnose sturgeon, the smallest of the three species, can live 20 or more years—sometimes a lot more—but they rarely exceed 30 inches in length and five pounds.